Thursday, 13 March 2014


From the 1950s, Indian Hindus were migrating to Germany. Since the 1970s, Tamils from SriLanka arrived as asylum seekers to Germany (Most of them were Hindus). Due to Civil war in Afghan during the 1980s, refugees came to Germany. Of them, minority people were Hindus. In 2000, there were 90,000 Hindus in Germany. In 2007, there were 6000 Hindus in Berlin. In 2009, around 5000 Hindus were in Lower Saxony.
According to the government statistics agency Remid, in 2011 there were an estimated 120,000 Hindus in Germany. About 42,000–45,000 are Sri Lankan Tamils; 35,000–40,000 are Indian; 7,500+ are Whites and others; and some 7,000 - 10,000 are Afghan Hindus. The first Hare Krishna temple in Germany was built 1970 in Hamburg. There are several hundreds of Balinese Hindus living in Germany, with the major temple located in Hamburg.

The majority of Indians are Hindus. India is special because of its ancient Hindu tradition. Westerners are drawn to India because of it. Why then is there this resistance by many Indians to acknowledge the Hindu roots of their country? Why do some people even give the impression as if an India that values those Hindu roots was dangerous? Don’t they know better?
Their attitude is strange for two reasons. First, those people have a problem only with ‘Hindu’ India, but not with ‘Muslim’ or ‘Christian’ countries. Germany for example, is a secular country and only 59 percent of the population are registered with the two big Christian Churches (Protestant and Catholic). Nevertheless, the country is bracketed under ‘Christian countries’. Angela Merkel, the Chancellor, stressed recently the Christian roots of Germany and urged the population ‘to go back to Christian values’. In 2012, she postponed her trip to the G-8 summit for a day to address the German Catholic Day. In September 2011, the Pope was invited to address the German Parliament. Two major political parties carry ‘Christian’ in their name, including Angela Merkel’s ruling party. Government agencies even collect the Church tax (8 percent of the income tax) and pass it on to the Churches.
Germans are not agitated that Germany is called a Christian country, though I actually would understand if they were. After all, the history of the Church is appalling. The so called success story of Christianity depended greatly on tyranny.  “Convert or die”, were the options given not only to the indigenous population in America some five hundred years ago. In Germany, too, 1200 years ago, the emperor Karl the Great ordered the death sentence for refusal of baptism in his newly conquered realms. It provoked his advisor Alkuin to comment: ‘One can force them to baptism, but how to force them to believe?’’ Heresy was put down with an iron hand. I still remember a visit to the Nuremberg castle prison as a school kid. There, we were shown the torture chamber and the torture instruments that were used during inquisition. Unbelievable cruelty!
Those times, when one’s life was in danger if one dissented with the dogmas of the Church, are thankfully over. And nowadays many in the west do dissent and leave the Church in a steady stream – in Germany alone over 2 million officially signed out in the last ten years and during a survey in 2011, 5,5 million Germans ‘considered’ leaving the Church – partly because they are disgusted with the less than holy behavior of Church officials and partly because they can’t believe in the dogmas, for example that ‘Jesus is the only way’ and that God sends all those who don’t accept this to hell.
And here comes the second reason why the resistance to associate India with Hindutva by Indians is difficult to understand. Hinduism is in a different category from the Abrahamic religions. Its history, compared to Christianity and Islam was undoubtedly the least violent as it spread in ancient times by convincing arguments and not by force. It is not a belief system that demands blind belief in dogmas and the suspension of one’s intelligence. On the contrary, Hinduism encourages using one’s intelligence to the hilt. The rishis enquired into truth, discovered universal laws and showed how to live life in an ideal way. Hinduism (please don’t get irritated by this ’modern’ word. In today’s world it is in use for the many streams of Sanatana Dharma) comprises a huge body of ancient literature, not only regarding Dharma and philosophy, but also regarding music, architecture, dance, science, astronomy, economics, politics, etc. If Germany or any other western country had this kind of literary treasure, it would be so proud and highlight its greatness on every occasion.Yet we Germans have to be content with only one ‘ancient’ epic which was written around 800 years ago and probably refers to incidents around 400 AD. That is how far back ‘antiquity’ reaches in Europe, and of course children in Germany hear of this epic, called ‘Nibelungenlied’, in school. Naturally westerners consider the existence of Sri Krishna and Sri Rama as myths. How could they acknowledge a civilization much more ancient and much more refined than their own?
Inexplicably, Indians cater to western arrogance and ignorance by downplaying and even denying their tradition. There is a “Copernicus Marg’ in New Delhi and Indian children do not get to hear in school that the rishis of the Rg Veda knew already that the earth is round and goes around the sun – thousands of years before westerners ‘discovered’ it. (Rg 10’22’14)
When I read some Upanishads, I was stunned at the profundity. Here was expressed in clear terms what I intuitively had felt to be true, but could not have expressed clearly. Brahman is not partial; it is the invisible, indivisible essence in everything. Everyone gets again and again a chance to discover the ultimate truth and is free to choose his way back to it. Helpful hints are given but not imposed.
 In my early days in India, I thought that every Indian knew and valued his tradition. Slowly I realized that I was wrong. The British colonial masters had been successful in not only weaning away many of the elite from their ancient tradition but even making them despise it. It helped that the ‘educated’ class could no longer read the original Sanskrit texts and believed what the British told them. This lack of knowledge and the brainwashing by the British education may be the reason why many ‘modern’ Indians are against anything ‘Hindu’. They don’t realize the difference between western religions that have to be believed (or at least professed) blindly, and which discourage if not forbid their adherents to think on their own and the multi-layered Hindu Dharma which gives freedom and encourages using one’s intelligence.
Many of the educated class do not realize that on one hand, westerners, especially those who dream to impose their own religion on this vast country, will applaud them for denigrating Hindu Dharma, because this helps western universalism to spread in India. On the other hand, many westerners, including Church people, very well know the value and surreptitiously appropriate insights from the vast Indian knowledge system, drop the original source and present it either as their own or make it look as if these insights had been known in the west.
Rajiv Malhotra of Infinity Foundation has done painstaking research in this field and has documented many cases of “digestion” of Dharma civilization into western universalism. Hindu civilization is gradually being depleted of its valuable, exclusive assets and what is left is dismissed as inferior.
If only missionaries denigrated Hindu Dharma, it would not be so bad, as they clearly have an agenda which discerning Indians would detect. But sadly, Indians with Hindu names assist them because they wrongly believe that Hinduism is inferior to western religions. They belittle everything Hindu instead of getting thorough knowledge. As a rule, they know little about their tradition except what the British told them, i.e. that the major features are caste system and idol worship. They don’t realize that India would gain, not lose, if it solidly backed its profound and all inclusive Hindu tradition. The Dalai Lama said some time ago that already as a youth in Lhasa, he had been deeply impressed by the richness of Indian thought. “India has great potential to help the world,” he added. When will the westernized Indian elite realize it?

One of the most interesting puzzles in archaeology, and one that hasn't been completely solved yet, concerns the story of the supposed Aryan invasion of the Indian subcontinent. The story goes like this: The Aryans were a tribe of Indo-European-speaking, horse-riding nomads living in the arid steppes of Eurasia. Sometime around 1700 BC, the Aryans invaded the ancient urban civilizations of the Indus Valley, and destroyed that culture. The Indus Valley civilizations were far more civilized than any horse-back nomad, having had a written language, farming capabilities, and led a truly urban existence. Some 1,200 years after the supposed invasion, the descendants of the Aryans, so they say, wrote the classic Indian literature called the Vedic manuscripts.

Adolf Hitler and the Aryan/Dravidian Myth

Adolf Hitler twisted the theories of Gustaf Kossinna (1858-1931), to put forward the Aryans as a master race of Indo-Europeans, who were supposed to be Nordic in appearance and directly ancestral to the Germans. These Nordic invaders were defined as directly opposite to native south Asian peoples, called Dravidians, who were supposed to have been darker-skinned.

The problem is, most if not all of this story--"Aryans" as a cultural group, invasion from the arid steppes, Nordic appearance, the Indus Civilization being destroyed, and, certainly not least, the Germans being descended from them--may not be true at all.

Aryans and the History of Archaeology

During the 19th century, many European missionaries and imperialists traveled the world seeking conquests and converts. One country which saw a great deal of this kind of exploration was India (including what is now Pakistan). Some of the missionaries were also antiquarians by avocation, and one such fellow was the French missionary Abbé Dubois(1770-1848). His manuscript on Indian culture makes some unusual reading today; the good Abbé tried to fit in what he understood of Noah and the Great Flood with what he was reading in the great literature of India. It was not a good fit, but he did describe Indian civilization at the time, and provided some pretty bad translations of the literature.

It was the Abbé's work, translated into English by the British East India Company in 1897 and with a laudatory preface by German archaeologist Max Muller, that formed the basis of the Aryan invasion story--not the Vedic manuscripts themselves. Scholars had long noted the similarities between Sanskrit, the ancient language in which the classical Vedic texts are written, and other Latin-based languages such as French and Italian. And when the first excavations at the large Indus Valley site of Mohenjo Daro were completed early in the 20th century, and it was recognized as a truly advanced civilization, a civilization not mentioned in the Vedic manuscripts, among some circles this was considered ample evidence that an invasion of people related to the peoples of Europe had occurred, destroying the earlier civilization and creating the second great civilization of India.

Flawed Arguments and Recent Investigations

It turns out that there are serious problems with this argument. There are no references to an invasion in the Vedic manuscripts; and the Sanskrit word "Aryas" means "noble", not a superior cultural group. Secondly, recent archaeological evidence suggests that the Indus civilization was shut down by droughts combined with a devasting flood, not a violent confrontation. Recent archaeological evidence also shows that many of the so-called "Indus River" valley peoples lived in the Sarasvati River, which is mentioned in the Vedic manuscripts as a homeland. There is no biological or archaeological evidence of a massive invasion of people of a different race.

The most recent studies concerning the Aryan/Dravidian myth include language studies, which have attempted to decipher and thereby discover the origins of the Indus script, and the Vedic manuscripts, to determine the origins of the Sanskrit in which it was written. Excavations at the site of Gola Dhoro in Gujarat suggest the site was abandoned quite suddenly, although why that may occurred is yet to be determined.

Racism and Science

Born from a colonial mentality, corrupted by a Nazi propaganda machine, the Aryan invasion theory is finally undergoing radical reassessment by south Asian archaeologists and their colleagues, using the Vedic documents themselves, additional linguistic studies, and physical evidence revealed through archaeological excavations. The Indus valley cultural history is an ancient and complex one. Only time will teach us what role if any an Indo-European invasion took in the history; but it seems clear that a collapse of the Indus civilization did not occur.


The swastika (卐) (Sanskrit: is a symbol that generally takes the form of an equilateral cross, with its four arms bent at 90 degrees. The earliest archaeological evidence of swastika-shaped ornaments dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization as well as the Mediterranean Classical Antiquity and paleolithic Europe. Swastikas have also been used in various other ancient civilizations around the world including Turkic, India, Iran, Armenia, Nepal, China, Japan, Korea and Europe. It remains widely used in Hinduism,primarily as a tantric symbol that invokes Lakshmi - the Vedic goddess of wealth, prosperity and auspiciousness.
The word "swastika" comes from the Sanskrit svastika - "su" (meaning "good" or "auspicious") combined with "asti" (meaning "it is"), along with the diminutive suffix "ka." The swastika literally means "it is good." It is a common practice for Hindus to draw Swastika symbols on the doors and entrances to their houses during festivals, which is believed to symbolize an invitation to goddess Lakshmi. The name "sauwastika" is sometimes given to the left-facing arms symbol, which is a mirror image of swastika (卍).
The symbol has a long history in Europe reaching back to antiquity. In modern times, following a brief surge of popularity as a good luck symbol in Western culture, a swastika was adopted as a symbol of the Nazi Party of Germany in 1920, who used the swastika as a symbol of the Aryan race. After Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, a right-facing 45° rotated swastika was incorporated into the flag of the Nazi Party, which was made the state flag of Germany during the Nazi era. Hence in many western countries the swastika is stigmatized as being associated with Nazism and related concepts like antisemitism, hatred, violence, death, and murder. Notably, the swastika has been outlawed in Germany and other countries if used as a symbol of Nazism in certain instances. Many modern white nationalist and Neo-Nazi groups such as the Russian National Unity use stylized swastikas or similar symbols.


WEST MEETS EAST Tina Mlinarevic outside Fusion Foods

At a time when our boys and girls are keen on going to the advanced nations of the West to pursue higher studies and in search of jobs, a German girl has come all the way to India to do her internship at a restaurant in the `City of Destiny'. This is in spite of the ample opportunities she has, to do the same in Europe.
What drew her to India?
"It is my friend from Hyderabad, Anusha, who has painted a picture of the rich and diverse culture of India that has kindled my interest."
Lovely beaches, picturesque Kailasagiri, friendly people and their warm hospitality have floored her. She went on a shooting spree clicking pictures of the marvellous stone sculptures on the walls of the ancient Simhachalam temple and exhausted two rolls of film.
"I have visited Spain, Italy and France, but have not seen such beautiful sculptures anywhere in the world," she avers.
Meet Tina Mlinarevic, who is doing her master's degree in economics from Mannheim University in Germany. She is a member of AIESEC, a student organisation, which has branches all over the world.
Tina's parents, whose parents were originally from Croatia, had settled in Frankenthal city in Germany 40 years ago. Anusha's parents who hail from Hyderabad have settled in the same place. Tina and Anusha became friends. Now they are pursuing higher studies in different cities but keep meeting on weekends when they return to their native place.
Tina's father is a retired mechanical engineer and her mother is employed at an old age home. "My parents wanted me to study medicine but I am scared of blood and decided against it. I studied economics and now I am specialising in marketing," she says.
Staying at Fusion Foods, adjacent to Gurajada Kalakshetram for a month as part of her internship, Tina is supervising the hosting of food festivals as part of which she is interacting with guests and meeting a number of people.
"My 11-week internship here is `great'. I have not only learnt about marketing but am enriched by the Indian culture and hospitality."
Though a food lover and an expert cook, she doesn't relish Indian cuisine as they are `very spicy and heavy on the stomach'. "Indian food is very tasty but I developed stomach problems and was hospitalised twice after consuming it soon after coming here. Now I think I am slowly getting adjusted to it."
How does she get along with the local people, many of whom cannot converse in English?
"I am managing to get along with simple greetings like `Bagunnara'? (are you OK?), and `Naa peru Tina' (my name is Tina)," she said with a radiating and infectious smile.
She plans to host a German food festival at the hotel from October 3. "I have chosen that date as on that day a decade ago that East and West Germany were re-united. It is a day of rejoicing in Germany and people celebrate the event in a big way."
Anusha told me a lot about Taj Mahal and that it is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. I am keen to see it," she says. "Our university will open in mid-October and I have to go back. But I have plans to visit India again."
Nineteen foreign students have enrolled for various courses in Andhra University this year. These include students from Canada, Mauritius, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, besides those from Africa. "This is in addition to the US students who have been coming here regularly for short-term research training in the Zoology Department for the last five years," says Advisor on International Students Affairs A. Joseph.
With more and more foreigners coming to India for higher studies and to take up jobs in the software industry, the day may not be far off when India would be the most sought after destination in the world. 

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